Pasting data on select or lookup from table column


If I format a column either as Select (multiple values) or Look up from table and I need to copy/past certain value/data to that column, Coda doesn’t recognise the text (it is ok to some extent) but should give me an option to create straight away the new value as soon as I past the value in the cell.



Hello -

I understand you want to know why you can’t post the data directly as a new data row in the linked table, like we can in some other apps, and have the text convert over as a new entry in the other table. If Coda allowed this it would break the data rather than keeping it “living” but maybe it will become a popular request…

In the world of good database management, best practices are to avoid at all costs manually manipulating the data, but instead make forms, and filters, or mark rows as “deleted” instead of actually deleting them. Over time this allows you as a database manager to have systematic control, keep organized, eliminate sparse data (rows with missing info), avoid manipulation of the data by bad code, and backtrack history. This prevents contractions and bugs.

So if you have a lookup table, it would be standard practice to make that entry in that second table, and then select it from the lookup list in the first. You can copy and paste the lookup value, which isn’t text anymore, but becomes an actual reference to the data. In a sense it’s alive.


Hey Michael, thanks for the feedback but I have some concerns about that:

  1. When fine grained permissions are implemented by coda, you will simply “lock” the column and you are done. Problem solved. The column is protected and nobody can create inconsistency

  2. Think from a Data Entry perspective: You have a table that looks up different other tables. Now, if you inserted a new value in each single table, you would take ages to complete the data entry (i’m talking about copy/past actions, because currently Coda allows to create new value straight away when editing)

  3. With the 2) in mind, you can simply provide the user with an option at pasting time that says: "Would you like to create new entries in lookups tables? (yes or no) with a default answer to no (like it happens to copy/past data from one section to another now)

Now the effect will be that the data entry (copy/past actions) will be more effective and efficient and waiting for 1) that will fix your concerns, the 3) is absolutely a right balance and mitigation…

Lastly, Coda is not a “Database per se” but is a much more flexible product… and this feature will enhance productivity and will provide the right balance between consistency and speed!


Are you saying you want faster speed transposing large blocks of data from prior tables? It sounds like you should look into bulk formatting the data, importing, or applying a formula to speed things up. If you are pasting in chunks of 5-10 rows, I would see it the same as a bulk data operation.

Sometimes there are brilliant solutions that require knowledge too, for example, maybe just putting " " around the text entry or an @ will convert it to the right datatype so that it creates the lookup… i’m not sure.


Imagine you have other data sources (excel sheets, csv, etc…) and that data doesn’t have other separated tables for certain columns (say Company like my example above).

Now, if you wanted to structure your data (with many different tables for certain entities), you would deal with each single table and pre-populate them first (we are talking about speed at data entry time).

What i’m trying to say here is that if we had an option that "auto creates entities/values in other lookups tables at past time and in a safe way) it would simplify a lot this process and speed up things!


I guess I would need to learn more about that specific situation as I did not get that from the first post. I am willing to bet you there is a way to parse the data (Be it comma, space bar, etc) to extract the list of types that need to quickly populate the table.

Have you seen the Unique() function? I use that to populate types in my tables